My own version of a glossary of real estate terms. Click here for the As and Bs. And now: The Letter C!

Chain of title
The ownership history of a property. When it comes to San Francisco Victorians, it’s usually a very long chain.

Clear title
If you have it, you clearly own your house.

In San Francisco, it’s the day when you give or get the keys. In other parts of the civilized world, it can refer to an elaborate ritual involving lawyers, oaths, blood and actual physical contact (hopefully just a handshake) with the buyer you’re selling to or the selling you’re buying from.

Closing costs
What it costs to buy a house besides the price and what it costs to sell a house besides the commission and city transfer tax.

Cloud on title
A little bit like it sounds. Rain on your parade, clouds in your coffee. In other words, the chain of title isn’t clear (see above, Clear Title and Chain of Title).

Your house is the collateral on your loan. Pay up!

Common area
Not common as in “ordinary,” but rather “shared.” Although some common areas are “common” in both meanings of the word: They’re ordinary –like hallways, roofs and garages. (An “exclusive use” can exist within the common area, however, such as an assigned parking space. Confused? For more about that see future post devoted to the letter E).

Comparable sales
AKA “comps.” AKA the material that appraisers manipulate in order to create their art.

Condominium conversion
Something you can’t do anymore in San Francisco – except in rare instances.

Another something you can’t do anymore in San Francisco. Competition for properties is so fierce that buyers are seldom able to include any “outs” in a contract, such as the right to have an inspection.

What you sign when you’re buying or selling a property, and where your agent’s experience and savvy really comes into play.

Photo Credit: Nikhil Mitra 

Cynthia Cummins is a Top Producer and Partner at McGuire. For info on SF real estate visit http://CynthiaCummins.comThis article was re-posted at